Cornwall Devon & Somerset Domestic

Mum jailed for giving son, 15, lethal cocktail of drugs and alcohol

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A Salcombe mother has been jailed for 10 years for giving her 15-year-old son a lethal cocktail of drugs and alcohol.

Holly Strawbridge, 34, was jailed by Plymouth Crown Court today [17 January] after being convicted on 13 December of child neglect and supplying Class A drugs.

The court heard that Strawbridge supplied Tyler Peck and a friend with alcohol and dangerous prescription medicines for recreational purposes at the family home one evening.

She sat with them both in the kitchen drinking alcohol, inhaling aerosol fumes and taking a cocktail of her medication, including liquid morphine.

Strawbridge admitted giving them beer and peach schnapps but denied supplying either boy with the liquid morphine known as Oramorph, Gabapentin [for nerve pain and anxiety] and Valium – all prescribed to her.

However, the court was told that Strawbridge had put the drugs into the boys’ drinks, with Tyler’s friend later telling police that ‘we were drinking morphine’ and Tyler was ‘swigging from the bottle’.

Tyler consumed a lethal mix of prescription-only medicines, ecstasy and alcohol on that night. He went to sleep around 2.30am, but tragically never woke up.

A forensic report found that there were lethal doses of morphine as well as Gabapentin in Tyler’s body. The quantity of morphine was enough to kill him on its own and there was enough Gabapentin in his system to also cause death.

A pathologist recorded that Tyler’s death was due to morphine and Gabapentin toxicity.

The court heard that supplying her son with drugs and alcohol was an ongoing pattern of behaviour by Strawbridge.

Other friends of Tyler had previously seen her give him Valium and Gabapentin. An associate also told police he had seen Tyler drinking his mother’s Oramorph from a bottle in the street on a previous occasion.

The jury heard how Tyler’s behaviour could be challenging and aggressive and his mother ‘actively encouraged’ her son to drink alcohol and use drugs to help him ‘cope with life’ while her own drug usage had ‘normalised’ drug taking for her son.

Strawbridge also shared her prescription medication with her son’s friends.

A video taken by Tyler’s friend during the fateful evening showed Tyler talking incoherently and an intoxicated Strawbridge, despite her persistent denial to the contrary.

Strawbridge pleaded not guilty to the neglect of two children and supplying Class A drugs, but she was convicted of the offences by a jury and jailed.

Detective Inspector Ian Ringrose, senior investigating officer, welcomed the sentence and said: “Tyler’s death was both tragic and completely avoidable.

“He died due to the actions of his mother who should have protected him, not put him in harm’s way.

“Strawbridge also put Tyler’s friend in grave danger that night and he is fortunate not to have suffered the same fate.

“I want to thank Tyler’s friends for their courage in coming forward and speaking on Tyler’s behalf.

“The result today is also due to the dedication of the team of investigators who painstakingly gathered and presented the evidence.

“Finally, I want to pay tribute to Tyler’s family for the dignity they have shown throughout this ordeal. I hope that the sentencing today will help them to move forward.”

Tyler’s father, Ryan Peck, and stepmother, Sam Kibbler, paid tribute to him, saying: “Tyler was funny, affectionate and caring. He was one of the lads, protective, loving and unique, and we miss him dearly.

“We want to take this opportunity to say thank you for all of the support we have had over the last 10 months since Tyler passed away and thank everyone involved in this case. You have all done Tyler proud.

“Unfortunately this trial was never going to bring our Tyler back, but we are glad that justice has finally been served and we can now try to find a way to move forward.

“We would be grateful if you could all please let us do this in peace.”

News from Devon and Cornwall Police